6 September 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Sinn Fein’s refusal to engage in the parliamentary process is harming Ireland, a Cork Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Colm Burke said: “The European Union Withdrawal Bill starts to make its way through the House of Commons this week. Meanwhile seven Sinn Fein MPs stand idly by and absent themselves from the great debate.
“Sinn Fein says it wants Northern Ireland to remain in the EU yet they refuse to take their seats and help defeat or modify Brexit in the only place where that can happen – the House of Commons.
“Now that the British Labour Party supports remaining in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market for several years, there is an added urgency regarding Sinn Fein taking their seats.
“At a time when the Conservative government has a wafer thin majority, Sinn Fein is displaying a gross dereliction of duty,” said the Cork Senator.
“If they really care about the fate of this island, they should hold a special Árd-Fheis and mandate their seven MPs to take their seats.
“The Scottish and Welsh nationalists are not afraid to stand up for their country in the House of Commons. At a time of great risk to Ireland, Sinn Fein’s policy of abstention is a self-indulgence which the country cannot afford.
“Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stuart Parnell, John Redmond, Bernadette Devlin, John Hume, Seamus Mallon and Mark Durkan were not afraid to take their seats and defend Ireland’s interests. Sinn Fein should now do the same, in a tight situation every vote will count.
“Sinn Fein must not be given a free pass on this issue, particularly because the Northern Assembly is silent too,” Senator Burke said.